By Senator Rehman Malik
The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is set to review Pakistan’s progress on its action plan in its three-day plenary meeting, starting February 22. In this regard, I have written another letter to the President of FATF for the removal of Pakistan’s name from its grey list as Pakistan has been treated with discrimination as compared to India. FATF has very conveniently ignored my complaint with irrefutable evidence conveying to me in writing that the Indian money laundering/terrorist financing does not fall within the domain of FATF. I have a question; if India does not fall within its domain, then how does Pakistan and how it is being investigated?
These imposed recommendations became binding on us as FATF linked it with the IMF loans and obviously, we could not decline to act on the directions of FATF as our government cannot afford to survive without IMF loans. Hence, despite difficult circumstances during COVID-19, Pakistan followed the directions of FATF and successfully complied with 21 out of 27 points of action including 16 bills passed by the Parliament.
The important legislation passed by the Parliament includes The Foreign Exchange Regulations (Amendment) Act, 2020, The Anti-Money Laundering (Amendment) Act, 2020, The NACTA (Amendment) Act, 2020, The Anti-Terrorism (Amendment) Act, 2020, The Mutual Legal Assistance (Criminal Matters) Act, 2020, The UN Security Council (Amendment) Act, 2020, The Anti-Terrorism (Second Amendment) Act, 2020, The Companies (Amendment) Bill, 2020, The Limited Liability Partnership (Amendment) Act, 2020, The Islamabad Capital Territory Trust Act, 2020, The Control of Narcotics Substance (Amendment) Act, 2020, The Anti-Terrorism (Third Amendment) Act, 2020, The Anti-Money Laundering (Second Amendment) Act, 2020, The Islamabad Capital Territory Waqf Procedure Act, 2020, The Modaraba Companies (Floatation and Control) (Amendment) Bill, 2020, The Cooperative Housing Society Bill, 2020 and others.
Let me point out that the way Pakistan is being directed from FATF, it reminds us of the colonial era where the imperial forces dealt with the colonies under their rule in the same manner as FATF is dictating Pakistan today. FATF is even dictating Pakistan in its internal financial systems such as domestic properties transfer, money transactions, international banking and unwanted declarations.
I have posed the following questions in my letter to President FATF as these are pertinent and it is our right to ask from FATF as a sovereign state for its discriminatory attitude towards Pakistan. India is sponsoring terrorism through heavy financing using RSS and Daesh in Kashmir. Why is it being ignored and why has India not been made the subject of necessary legal action by FATF for its involvement in terror financing? Why has India not been given a similar 27-point action plan to be implemented and why is India not made the subject of a FATF investigation? Why has FATF not undertaken the investigation into terror financing by India to Daesh? Why has FATF not picked up the matter of spying by India in the sovereign territory of Pakistan, which was financed by India and the living evidence is the arrest of Kulbhushan Yadav who was condemned by the court in Pakistan? Why is the terror financing to TTP and Afghan Taliban by India being ignored by FATF? Why is no action being initiated against India despite clear reports that it is financing and sponsoring Daesh/ISIS and other terrorist organisations?
The American magazine ‘Foreign Policy’ in its article “Indians and Central Asians Are the New Face of the Islamic State” on October 8, 2020, elaborated about the stronghold of Daesh in India. The Economic Times, in its publication dated July 26, 2020 reported that the UN has shown graver concerns on the increasing footprint of ISIS in India and the ISIS web is spreading at an alarming pace. The UN report on terrorism warned that there are a significant number of ISIS terrorists in two states of India, namely Kerala and Karnataka, and as per the UN data, ISIL’s Indian affiliate was announced in May 2019 and has around 180-200 members. Apart from this, India has established 87 training camps; 66 training camps on Afghan soil while 21 of these exist in India. India is violating international law by financing and strengthening Daesh, TTP, and other terrorist organisations. India is using all these terrorist groups for terrorist activities in neighbouring countries using the soil of Afghanistan.
The US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) in its report, declared India the worst violator of religious freedom and expressed that religious freedom conditions in India are taking a drastic turn downward, with the national and various state governments tolerating widespread harassment and violence against religious minorities.
All the human rights violations against religious minorities are carried out by RSS and duly financed by the Indian government and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is a lifetime member of the terrorist organisation, RSS. The latest report of UN on Pakistan clearly shows how Pakistan has diligently, effectively, and sincerely helped the US war on terror and has helped the international community to eliminate terrorism in the world. This report of the UN is testimony that Pakistan is neither involved in terrorist financing nor in money laundering, hence FATF should consider removing the name of Pakistan from the grey list, otherwise this discrimination and highly undesirable dealing of Pakistan will continue to haunt the world and human rights bodies.
I have been requesting the removal of Pakistan from the grey list as I am fully convinced that this move by the US is ill-motivated. We have the right to be removed from the grey list as this has already brought the country to the verge of economic collapse. Because of FATF’s restrictions, our economy has already experienced slow downtrends and the exports have dropped down due to the restrictions of international financial institutions, which are hesitant to deal with our business community. There are only 6 demands which are under process and I understand that is being followed actively.
The latest report of EU DisinfoLab is an eye-opener, which has exposed Indian designs to malign Pakistan through the creation of fake material against the country.
Unfortunately, these fake materials were used against Pakistan at FATF which needs thorough investigation by FATF.
I still see the ill intentions of FATF as it is under the influence of the US and Indian lobby as has already been exposed by DisinfoLab EU; how India has been using its funding against Pakistan to achieve its goals to infect Pakistan with its anti-Pakistan propaganda. Our government must deal with it very aggressively and if FATF does not take us out of the grey list, then we have the legal option to go to the International Court of Justice (ICJ).
I have asked FATF to allow me to defend my country against this discrimination and allow me to present irrefutable evidence against India which is a fit case for FATF to investigate on the line Pakistan has been investigated. As an internationally recognised investigator and analyst on money laundering and terrorism, I refuse to accept these imposed recommendations of FATF. As former Interior Minister, I know that most of these recommendations had been coming from the US during our government through different channels including their State Department and Homeland Security Department. These were always declined by our government; hence I could not digest to see the same recommendations strangely adopted by FATF. Many of these recommendations do not affect the international community directly or indirectly, then why this pressure on Pakistan? The IMF is our indirect ruler and it has assumed the role of East India Company which is encroaching on our system and taking over control of our country. Unfortunately, we are keeping the IMF happy at the cost of the common man who is getting crushed with an unbearable price hike every passing day.
Note: Opinions expressed are solely my own and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of my party.
(The writer is a PPP Senator, former Interior Minister of Pakistan, and Chairman of think tank “Global Eye” and Senate Standing Committee on Interior. He can be reached at: email@example.com, Twitter @Senrehmanmalik)